Without the extended headline, you might have difficulty placing these artists.
Symbiz is a bass music duo from Berlin, consisting of Buddysym and Zhi MC. No, they’re not rapping in German, and you’re correct, the video is not set in Germany. Zhi is performing in Cantonese, in his rap video filmed on location in Uganda. The amount of cultural flows in play is overwhelming.
“Faai Di is kind of about what the music and the whole project is about, which is creating an energetic positive musical experience that takes in influences from different musical cultures from around the globe,” the duo tells Radii. “Symbiz was always about having no hesitation to get into something new and unusual.”
Zhi MC (left) and Buddysym (right) make up Berlin’s Symbiz
The video features Zhi locked in position in the center of the screen, energetically performing the track across 26 different locations. The visual is completed by the characters and scenery of Uganda, where the two were working at the time. Dancing children, colorful market scenes, and backflipping locals, all pinned to the center of the shot, gave Symbiz the flavor and action-cam feel they were looking for.
“The reason we chose Uganda for the video was simple: We could. We had the chance to go there for two weeks to do some music, workshops and meetings with cultural activists. And we thought that it would make perfect sense to shoot a music video for a song with Cantonese lyrics by a band from Germany — in Uganda. Sometimes it’s good to go for the most obvious ideas.”
Symbiz as a duo has been international from the start, with their unique brand of bass-heavy music pulling them around the world, across Europe, from Venezuela to Zimbabwe, from India to Palestine. Generally speaking, Buddysym will mainly produce, with Zhi mainly on vocals. But really, the two will do both jobs, with Zhi hopping on the boards for their live shows and Buddysym frequently picking up a mic for backup vocals. They speak enthusiastically about traveling and drawing from a global array of sounds, ideally going abroad to collect their inspirations firsthand:
That hunger for new things was also how we had the idea to make bass music with Cantonese lyrics. Zhi’s parents speak Cantonese so even though he grew up in Berlin, it is literally his mother tongue. When we looked into it, we found that there is surprisingly little to no music of our style in Chinese. So why in the world would we not give it a try? We had it in our hands to do something hardly anyone, or maybe even no-one had done before.
You can listen to Faai Di and the rest of the duo’s Broken Chinese EP here on the Symbiz SoundCloud.
Yin (音, “music”) is a weekly Radii feature that looks at Chinese songs spanning classical to folk to modern experimental, and everything in between. Drop us a line if you have a suggestion: [email protected].
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